Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: PLāYT Restaurant & Bar, Xingones, Stonemill Matcha
Our first stop is PLāYT Restaurant & Bar where upscale Southern food with a California twist shines in Hayward. Then it’s off to Xingones in Old Oakland, a beloved pop-up run by two Oakland chefs who passionately prepare the foods they grew up eating, like chicken and waffles and street tacos. Finally we end in San Francisco’s Mission District at Stonemill Matcha, a minimalist Japanese cafe with extensive sweet and savory offerings and expertly crafted matcha beverages.
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My name is Leslie Sbrocco and I’m the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. Each week, I will be sharing my tasting notes about the wine, beer and spirits the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show.
Sommariva Brut Prosecco Superiore Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG
Prosecco is an American bubbly favorite—a whimsical welcome in every glass. But, there’s also a serious side to this sparkler that offers not only a pleasing price tag, but the highest quality. This Prosecco is dubbed Superiore and hails from the region of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (DOCG is a stamp of quality guaranteeing the origin of the wine). Sommariva’s deliciously juicy sparkler is made from the glera grape variety grown on the area’s steep hillsides about an hour’s drive from Venice. Crisp and refreshing, it’s an ideal match for sushi, salads and fresh cheeses.
2017 50 Harvests Meritage Blanc
Napa Valley, California, $35
With a family winemaking heritage originating in Italy in 1883, the Scotto family has been farming grapes in California for decades. The label is an ode to their 50 harvests in the Golden State. Winemaker Paul Scotto and Napa winemaking legend, Mitch Cosentino, have married nearly equal parts semillon and sauvignon blanc in a lusciously rich Bordeaux-style blend I call a “white wine for red wine lovers.”
2016 Ramey Chardonnay, Rochioli Vineyard
Russian River Valley, California, $65
David Ramey is one of the noted names of California winemaking and the Rochioli family’s vineyards rank among the world’s best. Together, their talents result in this classy chardonnay. In “wine geek” speak, David uses native yeast for complexity. He lets the wine undergo full malolactic fermentation in oak barrels resting sur lie. What does this mean? Deliciousness. The Ramey chardonnay is a vibrant yet creamy, lemon-pie scented indulgence worthy of a splurge.
2016 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford
Napa Valley, California, $100
Like its owner, Francis Ford Coppola, whose movies are an homage to times past, this layered, lush and age-worthy Inglenook cabernet pays tribute to vintner John Daniel Jr. Back in 1941 he helped produce the famed Inglenook cabernet sauvignon with vine cuttings brought to California from Bordeaux by founder Gustave Niebaum. Today, the Napa Valley winery—lovingly restored by the Coppolas—is a must-see historical (and theatrical) destination.
Gray Whale Gin
As a devoted gin fan, the allure of the spirit is taking an adventure with every sip. Each gin is distinctive due to its particular distilling process and botanical blend. Gray Whale is one of the best gins I’ve ever savored. Why? Its complex, slightly herbal character is compelling. The texture is smooth and supple. But the story says it all. Appealingly packaged in an eye-catching blue bottle, this gin celebrates an ancient migratory route of gray whales in the Pacific. Their 12,000-mile journey from Baja to Mendocino, California is echoed in the gin’s botanical blend. Foraged limes from Baja, juniper from Big Sur, almonds from California’s Central Valley, fir trees from Sonoma, mint from Santa Cruz, and Pacific Ocean sea kelp are distilled to their elegant essence.
Thirsty for more beverage advice? You can find more of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.